Tips for Beginning Foragers
I'm a forager, an amateur naturalist. I'm not a botanist or university trained scientist. My knowledge comes from a lifetime of enjoying nature. The skills I honed as a young child wandering through the woods on my family’s farm are the foundation for my continuing education. Nature is infinite in its diversity and its changeability so my understanding and expertise is always growing. Yours can, too, simply by getting out there and using my helpful tips to guide you.
Start Close To Home
Even if you live in a high rise building in an urban center, you can forage edibles if you know where to look for them. Quickweed growing in a forgotten terrace flower pot is a delicious salad staple and easy to harvest. Healthful greens may be lining the edge of your suburban driveway. The yummiest soup ingredients may be growing around the fence of your property. Don’t automatically assume totally rural settings are the only viable locations for foraging.
Learn One Plant At A Time
I like to think of learning about local plants as if I’m making friends with each one. Take the time to observe a plant as it grows in it’s natural home. Is it growing in a sunny field, the forest floor, near the beach? What types of trees, birds and animals are thriving in the vicinity? What time of year is it? Look at each element of the plant; the leaves, stem, buds, thorns, blooms, and see how they connect to each other. Touch them, photograph them, draw them in a small notebook, jot down or record a few of your observations. You can use this information to create your personal foraging journal and, more importantly, you’ll build your practical knowledge of plants to forage, simply, through patient observation. This is much more relaxing and fun than poring over guidebooks.
Progress To Favorite Places
Once you’ve explored your immediate surroundings and are building your knowledge of edible plants, progress to your favorite open places, such as parks, pathways, shorelines and trails, to find more edibles, deepen your knowledge of what’s growing locally and experience the process more deeply.
Show Your Thanks
When I forage, I'm aware that food growing where I harvest also has to sustain the animals that live there. Since I would never go to a neighbor’s home for dinner empty handed or eat all their food and leave them with nothing. I keep my harvest to about ten percent of what I find and leave sunflower seeds in exchange. A gentle approach, moderation and care for the surroundings you are in, are good rules to observe when foraging.
Join My Community Of Foragers
It’s my pleasure to share my knowledge of foraging and connect newcomers to this wonderful activity and all it has to offer. That's why I've created Quick Start and Essential Tool Guides for Urban, Suburban and Rural Foragers. They're my gift to you when you sign up for my mailing list. You'll also get seasonal tips and experienced advice so the joy of foraging can be a part of your daily life.